“Disability is a natural part of the human experience that does not diminish the right of individuals with developmental disabilities to enjoy the opportunity to live independently, enjoy self-determination, make choices, contribute to society, and experience full integration and inclusion in the economic, political, social, cultural, and educational mainstream of American society.”
The U.S. Developmental Disabilities and Bill of Rights Act
Yes, disability is a natural part of life! There have always been people with disabilities in the world, and there always will be. Some people are born with disabilities, and some acquire disabilities through an accident or illness. And those of us who do not now have a disability will have one, if we live long enough! One in five Americans is a person with a disability, making people with disabilities the largest minority group in the country—how can disability not be natural?
Historically, a disability has been seen as a “curse,” a “problem,” a “tragedy,” and in many other ways. But with the rise of the Disability Rights Movement during the past 35 years (beginning with parents who agitated for a public education for their children) new ways of thinking about disability, as described in the Federal law above, are emerging.
Today’s concept of disability, based on Federal and state laws, is a social construct—read on—and because it is a social construct, we can deconstruct it! I hope you’ll consider and embrace new ways of thinking.
Disability is, first and foremost, a medical diagnosis . . . Click here to continue.
When we change the environment—by providing a person with the assistive technology, supports, or accommodations she needs—the disability is no longer a barrier to learning, friendships, employment, self-sufficiency, self-determination, freedom, interdependence, or anything else. Under these circumstances, the disability becomes irrelevant.
New Ways of Thinking and Revolutionary Common Sense